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How to implement GTD for university students

Hello all,

This weekend I took out seven HUGE trash bags out of my office after cleaning everything hidden in every corner. I had boxes that had never been unpacked from four moves ago that are GONE! What a liberating feeling!

I don't have my tickler file set up, but have my someday/maybe and my "next actions" set up. The entire office is set up like a GTD Central Command. I had been using the Hipster last semester before life took a weird turn.

Anyways.... the reason for my question is this...

I'm a doctoral student, and as such I have weekly assignments for classes, papers for the semester, and some independent projects that I"m working on like grant proposals, etc.

I keep wondering what the best way of keeping track of everything, and I can't come up with anything concrete, so I thought I'd consult with the experts on this board.


CharlotteLouise's picture

File Folders?

The best I can figure, the only solution is the low-tech way; lots and lots of file folders. The whole idea of scanning would, I agree, be a waste of time, especially since so much of the paper that academics pick up is "Someday" or "Just-in-case" or "One small point of interest here." That is, you want to keep it, you want to be able to get back to it if you ever need it, but it's not something you're looking for today, or maybe even ever.

I've talked to people who keep a database of all of their research materials (cite, topics, etc.), but that seems to be something you'd have to train yourself to do at the beginning, rather than go through six file drawers later on.

One way of disposing of the articles you know you'll never need, but can't bear to toss is to give them away. Seriously. I had several boxes of stuff from my minor area (coporate strategy), and there was no way I'd ever need it. But, the thought of tossing it was unbearable. So, I packed it all up and handed it off to a fellow who came in a couple of years after me. He probably was able to use the material, but if he tossed it, I didn't have to go through the trauma !!!! See, he didn't have any sentimental attachment to the stuff. Hmmm. This idea might be worth holding onto.:)

On a different topic. It's occured to me that the deep soul of the GTD method is the baby step. That is, you identify what you can do in two minutes and do it; the Next Actions often also seem to be two-minute things. The problem for us is that serious research progress needs big chunks of time. There are some things (locating a source, formatting tables and the like) that lends itself to the two-minute bit. But, sitting down for serious writing is different -- I find that it takes at least a half day, to get into the flow and get going. What I'm thinking is that the GTD method will allow me to organize all of the other stuff -- teaching, advising, etc. so that I can have those half-days or even full days, without the worry of "what did I forget"

Sorry to be so long-winded, if that's a problem :o ...but typing this out helped get some ideas straight in my head.





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